The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee has announced a new inquiry on the future of UK music festivals.
With the majority of 2020 festivals cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, revenues are down by 90% across the sector, which is estimated to have generated £1.76 billion in GVA last year.
The inquiry will consider government policy to support music festivals due to take place in 2021 in the face of immediate pressures, and consider the economic and cultural contribution that music festivals make to the UK.
The collapse of the vibrant music festival sector this year is a real cause for concern
Julian Knight MP, DCMS Committee
DCMS Committee chair Julian Knight MP said: “The collapse of the vibrant music festival sector this year is a real cause for concern. The majority of festivals have been cancelled with the money they generate down by 90% and real risks surrounding their future viability.
“We have so many legendary festivals that have given the UK a worldwide reputation – it would be devastating if they were unable to come back with a bang, or if smaller festivals that underpin the talent pipeline disappear entirely. We want to hear from festival staff as they face huge pressures, fans who’ve missed out, as well as musicians on the contribution that festivals make to our culture and economy.
“It’s crucial that support to enable music festivals to go ahead in 2021 and beyond is put in place. We’ll be assessing what’s been done so far and what more needs to be done to safeguard the future of festivals.”
MPs will also consider the impact on communities, ticket holders and suppliers from the potential collapse of festival businesses, as well as the considerable freelance workforce affected by cancellations. The move comes just weeks after the DCMS Committee announced an investigation into the impact of streaming.
Festivals can take place if they are Covid-19 secure and comply with all relevant legislation; however, social distancing requirements will determine the financial and logistical viability of an event. There are also questions about how audiences will respond to a socially distanced festival experience.